Commencement speaker: Entrepreneur to major in business at PVAMU

Lydia Urice

Gavin and Khamari
Senior Gavin Wilson cleans sneakers with business partner senior Khamari Smith. Photo by Kara Siebe

Senior Gavin Wilson has taken many opportunities to get involved in high school and build a solid foundation for himself in the future.

“Took a while to get where I’m at,” Wilson said.

While COVID was a setback, Wilson feels he’s grown a lot since freshman year.

“I’m pretty satisfied with what I’ve accomplished. I feel like I didn’t go through the last four years moping around,” Wilson said.

Wilson is a part of track and field, was the student advisor to the board of education his junior year, and started a business called Solemates through the Thrive program this year.

Solemates has taught Wilson about business and resilience.

“When we were first starting out we kinda had to learn as we went. We had a particular pair of shoes, some [New] Balances. The lady wore them in the rain and the dye was bleeding into the suede, but somehow we fixed it. We re-dyed the suede and re-conditioned the material,” Wilson said.

“Gavin’s just a rockstar human. He’s a great person first, which means he’s great at everything he does. He pours his heart into everything,” Gavin’s psychology teacher and coach Jon Petter said. “If he’s gonna do it, he’s gonna give it 100%. Which, I love because that’s all you can ask, especially from a teenager.”

With all the activities he’s involved in, there’s one thing Wilson wishes he had more time for.

“100% sleep. My schedule has kind of picked up since I’m in season for track, and it’s kind of a last push for all seniors, but I’d use it for sleep. If I have a night full of regular homework, I get home from practice around 7 [p.m.], make dinner, do homework till I go to bed. That takes till 11. Then it’s time to do it all over again,” Wilson said.

Wilson plans to go to Prairie View A&M University, where he will major in Management Information Systems.

According to the Texas A&M website, the major is where technology and business meet.

“The MISY major addresses the impact of computer-based information systems in a variety of organizational settings. The degree program produces graduates who are both business analysts (i.e., professionals who understand accounting, marketing, finance, etc.) and information system specialists (i.e., professionals who can implement information systems strategies),” according to the Texas A&M website.

Wilson will be the commencement speaker for the Class of 2023.

“I feel like I put my best foot forward in that speech. I worked closely with Mr. [Todd] Schaefer and Ms. [Alexandria] Petty [Dickens] to produce the best speech that I could,” Wilson said.

Wilson was at a track meet when principal Matt Irvin called to tell him the news.

“He was like, ‘Congratulations, Gavin, you’ve been named as the commencement speaker for 2023.’” Wilson said, “It feels really good because I tried really hard. It was a goal that I set.”

“I’m proud of how resilient I’ve stayed through high school. I think it was a lot of times where I could have short-changed myself or given up on things but I held pretty strong,” Wilson said.

Feature Photo: Senior Gavin Wilson works on a sneaker in THRIVE.
Photo by Khamari Smith


Lydia Urice – Editor in Chief

This will be Lydia Urice’s third year on ECHO staff. She made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year. She was Podcast Editor for her first year on staff, and Junior Editor her second year.

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